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Open Source Monitoring and The Art of War

By John | June 19, 2008

I get this question a lot when I visit a Tivoli customer…

We are thinking of looking at that Open Source vendor you are always talking about for some of our servers.

Then I ask them which one and they say jeez I can’t remember the name. Then I rattle off a few of the top  Open Source monitoring solutions and most of time they stop me at ______.  For the last few years I have been seeing more of an acceptance of customers willing to run hybrid environments of proprietary and Open Source monitoring tools. I think many of the Open Source vendors have made the mistake in the past of trying to go into an enterprise environment and suggest the rip-and-replace sale as opposed to what I have referred to as the Trojan Horse approach.  A customer once asked me “Can you suggest a good monitoring tool for our not-so-important-servers?”  Folks, there are a lot of servers out there in the IT wasteland and not all of them have to be monitored as tier1.  A running joke that was going around in the early 2000′s is that BMC and Tivoli created Mercury (now HP) Sitescope because they, BMC and Tivoli,  would not budge on their per server pricing.  In fact many of the enterprise proprietary monitoring vendors still don’t deal with the not-so-important-server issue.   I took this idea to Groundworks a few years ago and at the time they rejected the notion out right.  Therefore, it was refreshing to read Mark Hinkle’s recent interview  with Robert Goloppini when he talks about how some of the Zenoss customers share event management data with some of the enterprise proprietary vendors.   I often cringe when I hear Mark suggest that the war should not be with the other Open Source vendors, because I believe that business is always a war.  However, It sounds like Mark gets it when it comes to the big enterprise propriety vendors and even though it is a cliche to quote Sun Tzu it still doesn’t make it any less true…

If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
- Sun Tzu, the Art of War

Topics: bmc, groundwork, hyperic, ibm, monitoring, open source, opensource, tivoli, zenoss | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Open Source Monitoring and The Art of War”

  1. Links List 6.20.08 | ScienceLogic Says:
    June 20th, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    [...] Willis talks about customers that use a hybrid approach of priority and open source monitoring tools depending on how important what’s being monitored actually is to the business. He says,”a [...]